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Responsibilities, Rights, and Welfare of Graduate Student Academic Empolyees Committee

Following on the C-12 resolution accepted by the Faculty Council in spring 2010 (Resolution to Raise Minimum Student Academic Employee Salaries to a Standard Consistent with a Living Wage for Austin, Texas), the committee had two goals for the 2010-11 year, which were pursued by two subcommittees.

The goal of the first subcommittee, chaired by Terry Kahn, was to assist with a working group convened by Vice Provost Gretchen Ritter to address the need to clarify policies related to undergraduate research appointments.

The goal of the second subcommittee, chaired by Andrea Gore, was to meet with Vice Provost and Dean of Graduate Studies Victoria Rodriguez to discuss issues related to graduate student employee benefits. The committee also reaffirmed its support for policy number 12.C.2, which allows assistant instructors to be reappointed as teaching assistants without having to process an “exception” request through the vice provost/graduate studies office.

Subcommittee 1)

C-12 members Beth Bukowski and Terry Kahn have been attending meetings with this working group, “Undergraduate Academic Titles,” whose members include Gretchen Ritter, vice provost; Soncia Reagins-Lily, dean of students; Amy Greenspan, student employment coordinator; Mark Bernstein, associate dean, communications; and Sarah Simmons, assistant dean, Natural Sciences. Among the issues discussed in these meetings are the need for clarification on policies related to summer employment, enrollment requirements for employment, academic standing standards, and cause for termination. This group will continue its work into next semester and will continue its involvement based on language in the UT HOP, which places undergraduate research titles under the purview of the C-12 committee.

Subcommittee 2)

Andrea Gore, C-12 member, arranged for a meeting with Victoria Rodriguez and members of the C-12 (Connie Steel, graduate student representative; Jim Holcombe; Sheldon Ekland-Olson; and Reid Long) on April 14, 2011, to discuss the following related to graduate student employees: where things stand with the state legislature on the issue of benefits; what the University can and cannot do to fill gaps in benefits, particularly for fellowship recipients; and how we can make smoother transitions for our students when they move between different appointment types from one semester to another (fellowship, TA, GRA, etc.). This meeting led to a commitment by Rodriguez to look into how the University might address some of the concerns raised.

LeeAnn Kahlor, chair